Ask the Hard Questions – How to Have End of Life Conversations

Conversations revolving around illness or death are not easily broached by anyone. We tend to avoid these topics because we live in the present. No one ever plans on tragedy striking, and facing our own mortality can leave us feeling an array of uncomfortable emotions.

Over 80 percent of Americans will face a period of sustained disability before their deaths. That is a staggering statistic. Most of those Americans have not had the necessary, albeit difficult, conversations regarding their end of life wishes. Even those who have a “last will and testament” are not protected from fraud, predators, or creditors.

If you want a say in your own plans, if you are a caregiver for someone with a terminal illness or disability, or if you are worried about your aging parents, these conversations are necessary to establish a plan.

The AARP states,” More than 90 percent of people think that it is important to have conversations about end-of-life care with their loved ones, yet less than 30 percent have done so. Similarly, 70 percent of people say they want to die at home, but in reality, 70 percent die in hospitals or institutions.” That is a large percentage of the population that are neglecting the opportunity to have their wishes clearly communicated, alleviating emotional hardship and legal complications when the need arises.

Here are some questions to ask in your conversation:

  • Are there any current health or illness issues?
  • Who do you want involved in making your end of life decisions? This is especially important as you don’t want your spouse or children fighting or forced to make decisions without knowing what you would want.
  • What specific kinds of care would you like?
  • At what point would you like care to stop?
  • Do you have funeral arrangements or preferences?
  • Financially, do you have any savings set away for end of life care or arrangements?

This is just the tip of the iceberg which is why you can enlist support in making these decisions. An estate planning attorney can help you navigate all these questions and more. Your attorney will take into account the relationship between you and your loved ones, how you would like your assets distributed after your death, and they can assist you in creating a customized plan that includes all of the necessary documents to carry out your wishes such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Living Trust, and Advanced Healthcare Directives.

At CunninghamLegal, our team specializes in helping you have these kinds of conversations as well as creating custom estate plans that protect you and your family. Whether you are 35 or 75, these conversations are necessary. You deserve to have your wishes honored during your life and afterwards. For a consultation with one of our attorneys, register for one of our FREE seminars.